As a 27 year old woman with fragile X syndrome the world of dating can often be difficult and overwhelming. So, I thought the show 'The Undateables' (Channel 4) would be perfect for my sister Emily, due to their ethos that there is somebody out there for everyone. After numerous interviews, both in person and over the phone, the producers also agreed that Emily would make the ideal candidate due to her bubbly personality and positive attitude towards life and dating.
The filming took place over a few weeks in both our home and numerous locations around York. As an avid tennis player, they were keen to film Emily playing tennis as well shopping and socialising with her friends, so viewers could get a glimpse into her life. Multiple scenes and interviews were recorded that unfortunately didn’t make it into the show due to the vast amount of footage that was shot. For us, it was important for the programme to educate viewers on Fragile X syndrome, especially as she is the first person to appear on the show with this condition, which we feel was conveyed well.
Emily loved every second of filming and the producers treated her extremely well taking the time to make her feel at ease in this new situation. Before the date Emily was extremely nervous however she had an enjoyable experience and it has given her the confidence to go on more dates in the future. She said she feels happy about how she was portrayed on screen and is excited about the opportunities the show has given her to meet someone in the future. Her favourite parts of filming were eating the cupcakes on her date, playing tennis with her Dad and meeting Lauren and Lizzy who filmed our segment of the episode.
Before the show was aired, we were fortunate enough to be taken down to London for a private viewing so we could express any concerns to the producers about the show and so we knew what to expect when it was aired which made Emily feel more at ease.
The response to the programme was incredible with multiple people getting in touch saying they thought Emily was lovely and that her date was heart-warming and uplifting. Many people messaged me directly saying they had siblings with similar disabilities and that the show had given them hope for them in the future. A few people raised their concerns about the title of the show, however the producers stated that the name is designed to be provocative and the shows premise is to prove this statement wrong (which is why the 'Un' is shot off by cupid in the title sequence). The show is brilliant at conveying inclusivity and representing people with varying disabilities which is why we love the concept so much. It shows that everyone in life has similar aspirations and goals which everyone, no matter their disability, can achieve.
We feel incredibly proud of Emily for stepping out of her comfort zone and taking on this new adventure as we understand people with Fragile X can often find new situations difficult. We hope that everyone enjoyed the show and that it has helped raise awareness of this syndrome.
A Note from Emily:
I’ve had an amazing time on this series meeting Lauren and Lizzy who I have kept in touch with. I was very nervous about going on the show because I didn’t know what people would say about me, but it was a great experience, and everyone was really nice. I went on the show because I wanted to meet somebody who would treat me like a princess and wouldn’t mind me having fragile X.
A note from the Fragile X Society
We are so grateful to Emily and Phoebe for sharing their story! Emily was just fantastic, and you can catch up on the episode here. Emily and her family are so passionate about raising awareness and we are so grateful for all that they do, including participating in our awareness campaigns and supporting the charity in various ways.
If you have a story that you would like to share, please get in touch!
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